Monday, 19 May 2014

Open For Business!!

Online Drugs Marketplace Rebranded as OpenBazaar

DarkMarket, a portal which is going to create a decentralized alternative to infamous online drugs marketplace Silk Road, has renamed as "OpenBazaar" in order to improve its image. The new system exists as little more than a proof of concept: its plan was drafted by a group of hackers in Toronto a month ago, where they won the $20,000 first prize for their idea.

OpenBazaar allows any user of the software to connect with other users and open a deal. A 3rd OpenBazaar user is brought in an arbiter, having the power to release the buyer’s funds (paid in Bitcoins, naturally) to the seller after the deal is completed. The users can also leave feedback as a cryptographically signed comment distributed across the network. The users’ identities in the system are tied to their Bitcoin keys, which prevents anyone from impersonating another user.

The idea of the system is obviously aimed at replacing the infamous Silk Road – online marketplace used to buy and sell drugs – which was shut down by the FBI seven months ago. Considering that it lacks centralized headquarters, the authorities would have to track down every single user of the system individually, and there’s no way to shut down the network entirely.

DarkMarket was developed by Amir Taaki, Damian Cutillo and William Swanson. The first is a veteran of the Bitcoin community currently developing a wallet application that will allow users to spend the cryptocurrency completely anonymously, while the other two are building a Bitcoin startup called Airbitz. The system now known as OpenBazaar was initially released as open-source software after the hackathon was finished. However, none of the three creators want to continue working on it, because they all focused on their own projects. This is why it is left to the community to continue the coding, and the community decided to rename it from DarkMarket to OpenBazaar at the first place.

Earlier, Redditors had started a petition to change the name from Dark Market to “Free Market”, which would sound better in the news that were to say, for example, that the authorities are “looking into banning the free market”. But the system creators’ initial response was to refuse, claiming that people need to stop being afraid and reclaim the words of power used to control them. Now the name was changed anyway.

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